October 28, 2008

Highland Park 40

Photo provided

Highland Park puts out some Scotch whiskies that have great demand. Such as a shipment of 32 cartons of a 32-year-old expression that were stolen in transit between Scotland and Los Angeles earlier this year. Here, we're dealing with an even older expression that so far has been safe from thieves despite its high value.

Highland Park 40 Year Old Single Malt

The Orkney Islands distillery was established in 1798, making it one of the most remote Scotch whisky distilleries in the world. Peat from its own moor and water from the same spring that has fed the distillery for more than two centuries helps assure consistency.

The clarity of the copper-colored liquid and the controlled smell of peat make this single malt's first approach a pleasing one. A touch of dried fruit and spice quickly makes its presence known. On the tongue, the twin notes of apricot/orange sweetness and vegetal/herbal peat that flavors but does not overwhelm the whisky create a very pleasing product, tinged with a slight dark chocolate note. The combination makes me think of Terry's Chocolate Orange candy.

The whisky is matured in refill casks rather than new oak to avoid over-flavoring of vanilla during the maturation process. It was bottled at 48.3% abv (96.6 proof). It comes packaged in a heavy, hinged box with a leather-bound booklet inside that explains the distillery and the whisky.

Suggested retail price: Runs the gamut from $1,300 to $1,900 for the 750ml bottle. Shop wisely.

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